Pallone Calls on JCP&L to Withdraw Monmouth County Reliability Project
Long Branch - Today, in a letter to James Fakult, President of Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L), Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) called on JCP&L to withdraw the proposed Monmouth County Reliability Project (MCRP). The plan for JCP&L’s new transmission line would impact Aberdeen, Hazlet and Middletown in Pallone’s district and run along New Jersey Transit’s North Jersey Coast line.
Earlier this month, the state Rate Counsel raised questions about the necessity of the project to increase reliability in Monmouth County. The Rate Counsel described a number of technological alternatives that could increase reliability without requiring the construction of a transmission line like MCRP. Additionally, many residents have argued that the project is unnecessary and potentially harmful to the public health, environment, and economy of their communities. The plan states that poles will be up to 210 feet tall in some places, and many residents are worried that this will negatively affect their home values. Pallone will testify at the January 25th public hearing on MCRP in Middletown.
Pallone has long voiced concerns with JCP&L’s proposal. In October, Pallone sent a letter to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) voicing his concerns over JCP&L’s proposal for the MCRP. In August, heshared his concerns with BPU regarding JCP&L’s proposal to transfer all of its transmission assets to Mid-Atlantic Interstate Transmission. JCP&L withdrew its transfer proposal in September, a week after Pallone’s statement.
The text of the letter is below.
January 18, 2017
Mr. James V. Fakult
Jersey Central Power and Light
331 Newman Springs Road, Building 3, Suite 325
Red Bank, NJ 07701
Dear Mr. Fakult:
I write regarding the Monmouth County Reliability Project (MCRP), the proposed 10-mile, 230-kilovolt (kV) transmission line and substation enhancement project announced in June 2016 by Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy. In light of recent questions raised by the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel and strong opposition from communities along the proposed route, I respectfully request that FirstEnergy/JCP&L withdraw the MCRP proposal.
As you know, last week, the state Rate Counsel submitted a number of comments on MCRP to the NJ Board of Public Utilities (NJ BPU), raising questions about the necessity of the project for meeting its proposed goal of increasing reliability of the portion of the grid serving Monmouth County. For example, the Rate Counsel testimony described several technical alternatives to the MCRP, which could improve reliability and satisfy the requirements of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), including the use of static var compensators or static compensators; distributed generation; smart invertors; or smart grid technologies. The feasibility and costs of these alternatives should be fully explored as they may fulfill reliability requirements at lower cost. The use of these types of alternative technologies may have the added benefit of avoiding the strong community opposition generated by the proposed MCRP.
In addition to the questions and concerns raised by the Rate Counsel, there continues to be opposition from communities along the proposed route. One of the issues raised by community members is the impact this project could have on home values, specifically the poles the plan states are necessary, which will be up to 210 feet tall in places. The height of the line is in part due to requirements necessary to construct along the NJ Transit right-of-way (ROW). It should be noted that NJ Transit has not yet granted FirstEnergy/JCP&L approval to construct along its ROW.
When the concerns of the Rate Counsel are coupled with opposition from communities along the proposed route, it is clear that the MCRP is not the best or most cost effective way to increase reliability in Monmouth County. FirstEnergy/JCP&L should withdraw the MCRP proposal. While NERC reliability requirements must be addressed, the company should explore other viable alternatives to meet those requirements in Monmouth County. The company should examine all viable alternatives fully to ensure that we achieve the goal of enhanced reliability through the most cost-effective means.
Thank you for your consideration of my request.
FRANK PALLONE, JR.
Member of Congress